Friday, October 12, 2012

First October Selection, 2012

A Folk Tale

There was a man who so deeply loved a woman
That on the night she died in a cold rain
He waded into the fjord where the blue rocks lie
Like miniature islands which the waves tap softly,
Weeping and crying her name.  The moonlight
Revealed to him the most amazing sight:
A small blackened shard of a spaceship that had plunged
Out of the heavens, past radar.  He lunged
Toward it and brought it to the surface,
Trembling when he felt it humming--as a trace
Of electric may often be felt in a disconnected phone
Or murmurs of life in museum skeletons.
Half out of his mind, he whispered to it, asking
Where she was, and if he kept on wishing
Would he find her, could he bring her back.
The piece of blackened metal, as he held it, spoke:
"If you will go," it said,
"Into the funeral home at night and raise the lid
Of her coffin, and take her hand in yours, then sever
The very tip of her smallest finger
And keep it with you forever,
All things will be as they were.  But leave me here
Among the rocks, for I've had enough of being held.
Set me down gently.  Do all as I've willed."

The very next night he did, and time moved back--
I can't say just how.  The produce truck
Never swerved, her Volvo was not demolished,
And she lived, they married, as it had been promised.
But after some years, the man grew tired of his wife,
The endless way that those brought back from death
Smile with their eyes cold, not knowing why,
So in his forties, at the end of an awful day
Of banging fenders at the body shop, he waded out once more
Among the blue rocks of the fjord.
The shard was still there, and once again he raised it,
Asking for his life to be as it was meant
To be: more money, a woman who smiled less,
Early grief, recovery, much more happiness.
"Fool," said the shard.  "It was a dream I told you,
And it's a dream that you've been going through.
Do you still have your part of her?"  The man sighed deeply
And said he'd buried it beneath an apple tree
Near the condominium where they'd settled down.
He sincerely doubted that it could be found.
"Loss, loss, loss," came a voice that made him afraid,
"A bargain broken is a bargain poorly made.
Look up to the sky."  He did, and in an instant
All was as before, the full moonlight
Once again about him, he so grief-struck, saddened,
He swam out past the blue rocks and he drowned.

--Richard Allen

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